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Cisco Invests in ThingMagic

RFID reader manufacturer ThingMagic of Cambridge, Massachusetts, this morning announced private funding from networking giant Cisco Systems and Nicholas Negroponte, the Wiesner Professor of Media Technology at MIT.
Feb 01, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 1, 2006—RFID reader manufacturer ThingMagic of Cambridge, Massachusetts, this morning announced private funding from networking giant Cisco Systems and Nicholas Negroponte, the Wiesner Professor of Media Technology at MIT. The announcement does not give a value to the funding, nor does it specify how the money was split between Cisco's contribution and Negroponte's. It says only that the infusion brings ThingMagic's total private funding to $21 million. Based on the $15 million received through 2005, today's investment should amount to roughly $6 million.

According to Mohsen Moazami, vice president of retail-consumer products distribution, Cisco sees RFID as an infrastructure-driven technology not unlike the internet itself. RFID requires "easily managed network solutions that scale, are non-disruptive, and have low cost of ownership," he said in a statement. ThingMagic's direction is consistent with this vision, given its specialization in networked RFID solutions. Moazami called the investment "a natural fit for [Cisco's] RFID strategy."

Renowned technologist Nicholas Negroponte, for his part, knew the founders of ThingMagic when they were at the MIT Media Lab. "...Then, as now, they stood out among their peers," he was quoted as saying. In addition to his role as a professor at MIT, Negroponte is founder of Wired magazine and co-founder of the prestigious and prolific MIT Media Lab. More recently he has made headlines for his One Laptop per Child organization, which aims to manufacturer $100 laptops and distribute them to children in developing countries.

ThingMagic has been profitable each year since its inception in 2000. In September it announced funding of $10 million, led by The Exxel Group, then in October announced another $5 million from The Tudor Group. The company touts the "software defined architecture" of its popular Mercury4 Gen2 reader, which allows it "to be easily and remotely updated for any future Generation 2 variants and other new RFID standards, ensuring that customers will always have the latest RFID technology available."

Read the announcement from ThingMagic
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